God morning! I know I have learned more this Lent season than any other before! The study I am doing as well as the book I am reading called “24 Hours That Changed the World” has provided such insight to what Jesus went through so that we may have a personal relationship with God. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Jesus endured for us who truly are not worthy, but He did so because of His love for us! We are His precious children and He will never abandoned us ... we only need to seek Him in all we do.
This Good Friday may you be reminded of this precious gift He gave for us. I encourage you to read Matthew 26-28 as I believe Matthew paints the most descriptive picture of what Jesus went through for us.
I am going to watch the Passion of the Christ this weekend for the first time ... I am nervous as I have heard it is quiet graphic of the suffering Jesus went through and it is difficult to watch, but I know it is something I want to watch to remember His sacrifice and never forget His gift of life He gave me.
May you have a blessed and peaceful Easter Weekend!
God morning! This morning in my Lent Study, I was led to Hebrews 5:7-9. Wow ... there is so much to take in from these three verses!
In the study of Holy Week, I have learned how more deeply about how Jesus was is great agony as he prepared to face death (see Matthew 26:36-45; Luke 22:41-44). Jesus told Peter, James and John in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” In the Gospel of Luke, he simply says Jesus prayed, but in Matthew’s version of the story, he states, “... he [Jesus] fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My father if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as my will, but as your will.’”
I cannot image the suffering and sadness Jesus felt even before he was arrested. Knowing what was to come and what his disciples would do ... Judas would betray him, Peter would deny him three times, and all of his disciples would desert him. Left alone and abandoned to be tortured and crucified! How much sadness comes on my heart when I think of what Jesus went through for us so that we would have everlasting life.
Although Jesus cried out to God, asking to be delivered, he was prepared to suffer humiliation, separation from his Father, and death in order to do God’s will. My commentary gives me more insight on this portion of the gospels by reminding me that Jesus’ human life was not merely a script that he passively followed. It was a life he chose freely (John 10:17-18). It was a continuous process of making the will of God the Father his own. Jesus chose to obey, even though obedience led to suffering and death.
At times we will experience trials and not understand them, but each trial teaches us perseverance and growth in our faith. (James 1:2-4) Let Jesus’ obedience sustain and encourage you in times of trial knowing you will be able to face anything if you know that Jesus Christ is with you.
Have you ever felt that God didn’t hear your prayers? Be sure you are praying with reverent submission, willing to do what God wants not your will in all situations.
I found a good article by Cindi McMenamin (see link to full article here) and wanted to share a portion of it here about what reverence means:
“What does the Bible say about reverence and how can we be reverent in our daily lives? Do you have a reverent attitude toward God? And does it impact the way you address Him, refer to Him, and worship Him?
The question is worth asking in a culture that casually refers to God as “The Man Upstairs” and among believers who see Jesus as their “Homeboy” or “bud.” Reverence for God is elevating Him far above a mere exclamation like OMG and approaching Him with an attitude of WOW.
While reverence might sound to some like legalism or stodgy behavior, it flows out of a relationship of knowing who God is and responding appropriately ... to have a deep, abiding respect for Him which includes a holy, reverential fear or honor of Him.”
Therefore, for me reverence is having humility and fear toward God but also recognizing, as well as expressing, His awe and greatness!
May you be blessed today and seek God in all you do.
God morning! In my Lent study this week, one of the readings led me to an article about when you feel far from God. Let’s face it, we all have such moments when for whatever reason our relationship with God isn’t as close as we want it to be.
It could be a recent unexplained death of a loved, the loss of your job, a divorce you didn’t anticipate, or an unconfessed sin. Any of these things (and others) can cause us to feel far from God. Instead of glossing over your feelings and pretending you are okay this Easter, I encourage you to take steps to draw Him near.
The article written by Alicia Michelle “When You Feel Far from God at Easter” gives some incredible insight to what you can do to help you move closer to Him. She provides some Bible verses and thoughts on assisting you to do this.
I will summarize the five steps she mentioned in her article here ... but please, if you are needing some encouragement or know of someone that does, read her full article (link for article here).
5 Steps to Take When You Feel Far From God at Easter by Alicia ...
❇️ Authentically share with God all that you’re feeling, including your doubts and fears.
❇️ Believe the truth that He is not far off, regardless of what your emotions tell you.
❇️ Ask Him to reveal anything in your life, including sinful habits, thoughts, or patterns, that may be separating you from Him.
❇️ Ask a trusted Christian friend or two to pray for you through this time.
❇️ Keep seeking, keep believing, and watch His promises still come true (despite your waxing and waning emotions).
May you find peace and God’s presence in your life today and every day to come.
Do you ever feel like a failure because your dreams don’t become a reality? I have been there. We all have. But never giving up is the key to one day making it happen!
I just listened to an incredible podcast from my friend, Josh S. Clark, who shared his insights on having a dream big enough to inspire you to never give up. Wow! What a powerful message!!
A Proverbs Josh shared was, "Where there is no vision, the people perish . . ." (Proverbs 29:18) This is so true! Without a vision it is impossible to reach your chosen destination.
Josh shared these eight reasons why your dreams might die and I wanted to share them with you.
❇️ Your dream isn’t authentic. If your dream doesn’t get you jumping out of bed in the morning ready to get going, it probably isn’t inspiring enough to ever be reached. Determine what your passion is and make it happen!
❇️ Stop dreaming. People get into a rut and discouraged believing their dream will never happen so they stop dreaming altogether and stop having faith. Don't let this happen to you. If we stop dreaming, we really stop living and we are not seeking the path God intended for us while here on earth.
❇️ Dream isn’t big enough. Make sure you really set your sights on BIG dreams. And have a bag full of dreams to keep you inspired. Set big goals, but then set small milestones as well so you don't get discouraged because your dream is taking too long.
❇️ Continue growing. If your dream isn’t helping you grow in your life, it won’t keep your attention for too long. Reach for the stars ... you may miss, but you will still land in the clouds!
❇️ Supporting community. Without people in your life that are encouraging and uplifting, it is hard to be positive. Motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Essentially, the people you spend the most time with shape who you are. Remember, there will always be negative people trying to squash your dreams so surround yourself with positive influence to ensure you continue seeking those goals.
❇️ Dream doesn’t have a roadmap. Yes dreams are fantastic and keep us seeking to be better, but if you don’t have a guideline to how we are going to get there, chances are you will be easily derailed.
❇️ Supportive daily habits. Once you have determined your roadmap of how you can be successful in reaching your dream, set some daily habits that will help you get there ... then make sure to do them!
❇️ Accountability partner. Find someone in your life who will be there to hold you accountable to the goals you want to accomplish. It is proven that having someone like-minded with the same passion as you can help you stay on the path to reaching your ultimate destiny.
As Josh said, “Are you raring or just ready?” The definition of “raring” is full of eagerness or enthusiastic. I want to be raring in everything I decide to do!!
I truly believe that we all have different purposes here while on earth. Most importantly is to spread the word of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and another is live the life God would want us to live while inspiring others to be the best they can be in everything they do.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life ... how will you spend it?
If you would like the link to Josh's full podcast, please let me know and I can share it with you.
We all tend to get overwhelmed and stressed out from time to time. Sometimes stress can be beneficial when it helps us get motivated to tackle a work project or exams, but extreme stress can lead to some adverse health consequences that can affect our bodies. Unless you learn how to deal with that stress, you could suffer mentally, emotionally, or physically! How can you stay calm and relaxed? It takes practice, but it is possible! Here are some tips to try when you are having a stressful day . . .
Dealing with arthritis pain can be crippling. I should know as I was diagnosed last January with arthritis in my hands and a couple other joints in my body.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, pain from arthritis and related diseases results from several factors, including:
✳️ Inflammation that contributes to the redness and swelling in your joints.
✳️ Damage to joint tissues from the disease or from stress, injury or pressure on the joints.
In addition to physical changes, emotional stress and fatigue can add to your pain. But remember ... pain is your body’s alarm system — it tells you something is wrong.
Of course there are prescriptions that doctors can give you that can help, but they may have some side effects you want to avoid so I wanted to offer some alternative remedies that I have found helpful for me:
❇️ Heat and Cold Therapy - Using heat and cold treatment can reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Cold packs numb the sore area and reduce inflammation and swelling. Heat, such as heating pads or moist heat like warm baths, showers or hot tub, relaxes your muscles and stimulates blood circulation.
❇️ Massage - Having a massage or giving a self-massage brings warmth and relaxation to the painful area. Remember to stop if you feel too much pain and don’t massage a joint that is very swollen or painful.
❇️ Stretches - Something that has helped me is to do some hand stretching as that is where my arthritis hurts me the most. Placing my fingertips together and pushing inward helps to stretch my joints and gives me temporary relief of the pain when I have overworked them.
❇️ Get Good Supplements - Making sure you take extra Salmon Oil and Glucosamine can help to naturally reduce the inflammation.
The Salmon Oil I take is screened for more than 200 potential contaminants, includes all 8 Omega-3 fatty acids, and was proven in an independent study showed it lowered inflammatory index by 68% in just 8 weeks.
Glucosamine supports healthy joint function and regenerates lost or damaged cartilage and boosts the body's natural anti-inflammatory capacity.
Adding these two supplements to my diet I feel have helped me find a natural alternative to deal with the pain that I experience from my arthritis, especially when I over do it.
❇️ Keeping a Positive Attitude - Arthritis may limit some of the things you can do, but it doesn’t have to control your life. Another way to reduce your pain is to build your life around wellness, not pain or sickness. This means thinking positive thoughts, having a sense of humor, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, surrounding yourself with positive people and enjoying activities with family and friends.
This is a magazine cover for Taste of Home from 2018. Wow . . . No wonder the WHO statistic shows that 2.8 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese!
Based on data released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") I recently read, American's obesity rate has reached 42.4% . . . surpassing 40% for the first time! And latest data for childhood obesity also shows an increase with 19.3% of U.S. young people ages 2 to 19 compared to the 5.5% in the 1970s. According to the Trust for America's Health website, being overweight as a young person puts them at higher risk for related health issues as an adult, such as hypertension and high cholesterol.
Are you taking care of the temple God gave you? Remember, it is not about being a super model ... just a healthy weight that fits for you. What about your child's health? Do you know the best tips to making sure you and your child stay healthy? Below please find helpful tips I found on CDC and other health websites that you can apply in your daily life:
❇️Appropriate portion sizes and creating healthy eating habits: It is so easy to put food on a plate until it is full. Learning early on that certain portions mean healthy outcome is an important part of staying healthy. A basic guideline from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for adult healthy portions of the following for the day are 2 to 3 cups of vegetables; 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruits; 5 to 8 ounces of grains; 3 cups (fat-free or low-fat) of dairy; 5 to 6 1/2 ounces of protein foods; and 5 to 7 teaspoons oils. Specifically for children, the American Academy of Pediatrics explains that toddlers don't require huge amounts of food. For example, ages 1 to 3 years old should have roughly 40 calories of food intake for every height inch.
❇️Limit calorie-rich and junk food temptations: It's a fact . . . you have candy bars on the counter, nine times out of ten you will grab the candy bar over a piece of fruit every time! Reducing the availability of high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks can help you and your children develop healthy eating habits. Keeping cut veggies available such as carrots, broccoli or bell peppers or fruit to grab like grapes, bananas, apples, or blueberries will help give you and your child a healthy choice. I am not saying to limit the candy completely as this sometimes can make it too tempting when it is around . . . keep them or other temptations up and out of sight so you don't immediately have them as your "go to" snack. Buy the "mini" version as opposed to the full size or king size options!
❇️Plenty of water: Adults and children should make sure to have plenty of water throughout their day. Of course, it varies depending on sex and age. Based on information The Mayo Clinic provides this simple chart of how much you and your child should be getting:
Adult Men: 15.5 cups
Adult Women: 11.5 cups
9-13 years old: 7 to 8 cups
4-8 years old: 5 cups
Toddlers: 2-4 cups
❇️Ensure adequate sleep: Did you know that studies show that getting too little sleep is associated with obesity, partly because not getting enough sleep makes us eat more and also causes us to be less active. Children need more sleep than adults. Click here for a chart that indicates the different age groups and just how much sleep one should get.
❇️Stay active and mentally sharp: Adults and children both need physical activity to stay healthy. Staying active has many healthy benefits should as strengthening bones; decreasing blood pressure; reducing stress and anxiety; increasing self-esteem; and obviously helping with weight management. Getting anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity for adults and children will put you on the right road to a healthy heart!
❇️Breastfeed infants, when possible: studies show that breastfeeding your child when possible was associated with a reduced risk of childhood obesity.
These are just a couple of suggestions to stay healthy. Hope you find them helpful and can work into your daily routine.
Isaiah 9 goes on to read . . .
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace . . . what a glorious description of Jesus Christ! Before Jesus there was no hope for any of us . . . now because He died on the cross for our sins, we have eternal life with the Lord Almighty! Can't you just see it? Standing beside God without fear, without pain, with our loved ones as we shall see them again! What a glorious day that will be!
God provided for all of us the opportunity to be saved. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
From my studying of the Bible, while here on earth we are encouraged to do good deeds and act as Jesus would, but it is clear that our salvation isn’t given by anything we have done . . . but is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Does that give us the freedom to act as we please? No! Just the opposite for as Christians it is our responsibility to bring others to Christ and follow His commandments. We should be a blessing to others because we love the Savior and want to obey His commandments. And as we show our Christian “light” others will see God’s goodness and will ask us about Him in turn giving us the opportunity to help bring them to Him. For Matthew 5:16 instructs us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Today, my question to you is simple . . . have you given your life to Jesus? Have you asked Him to come into your heart and forgive you of your sins? No matter what you have done, if you truly seek forgiveness and ask Him, he will forgive! He will clean your slate and wash you as white as snow! One of my favorite songs I listen to on my walks that a good friend sent to me is Beauty for Ashes (click here for the link to listen to the entire song). The song starts with “No longer ashamed, no longer afraid. You have washed me white as snow.” He will give you a fresh start each and every day . . . a fresh start of hope and goodness with a promise for eternal life!
But we have to ask Jesus into our hearts! John 14:6 tells us, “Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.” Jesus is the only way! If you haven’t asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, why not do so today? Today of all days . . . Jesus’s birthday! All you have to do is say a prayer asking Him to come into your heart and forgive you for all your sins. Below is a Salvation Prayer that you can say right now . . .
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2021 full of blessings and joy!
What an incredible experience this year has been! When I began this journey of trying to walk 2,020 miles in 2020, I really had no idea if I would be able to complete it or not, but I knew I wanted to give it a shot. I really didn't do the math or calculations (that was probably a good thing LOL) of what exactly this was going to take in order for me to finish, but I knew it was a fabulous goal to keep me active.
Little did I know that 2020 would be a crazy year filled with COVID, mask wearing, shutdown of the country, and total isolation for so many! Living in the Pacific Northwest with the beautiful mountains and fabulous walking trails was one of the advantages for me as it gave me an incredible outlet to spend time outside walking and talking with God.
One huge positive in my life this year is my faith as I feel it is stronger than ever, and I continue to spend morning time daily reading my bible and in prayer. I spent more time this year than ever before praying for those so greatly effected and connecting with our Lord. My hope is that many of you have experienced this same growth as we know that spending time with God puts everything else in perspective and the Word comes from God so learning and meditating on it daily is so important for our souls. While there is so much uncertainty in the world, especially today, if we put our hope in God we have no reason for concern. As my new t-shirt says, "Faith over Fear." He provides for me, He protects me, and ultimately I will be with Him for eternity!
While this year's goal was truly a challenge, I am so thankful for the my loving husband who is my constant support and cheerleader! As I spend many hours walking to get my miles, he constantly encouraged me to believe in myself and keep going. He even took several hikes with me throughout the year to help me get some extra miles seeing the beautiful countryside . . . all ending with a celebration beer, of course!
If you want to find an incredible community of runners or walkers, I would definitely recommend looking into Run the Edge and what current challenges they are offering. You can find their information by clicking here to review and sign up should you decide to join. Yes, there will be a 2,021 miles in 2021 that is available to join individually or as a team and split up the miles between your teammates, but they also have shorter challenges throughout the year. With Run the Edge, they also offered a Facebook group just for us walkers to encourage and support each other through our journey. They also have the incredible tracker that helps you determine how many more miles you have to go to complete your goal!
Nowadays, there are many communities online offering different challenges throughout the year. Another virtual walk I did last year that actually got me excited to sign up and start my 1-year Fitness Challenge of 2,020 miles in 2020 was The Winter Challenge. This is a challenge offered by Will Run for Bling and starts again this year on December 27th and runs through March 6th. It is a challenge for ten weeks to walk/run 125 miles. You can check out this challenge by clicking here.
Bottom line, I encourage to find your passion to stay healthy! I am not a runner. I can only ride a bike if it had training wheels on it. And I could swim if I were allowed to have floaties! Walking is my outlet. It is where I find peace in a crazy world . . . a place where I can cry, laugh, scream, or be still. It is where I refresh my soul by listening to what God wants me to hear. There is no better place than in the woods to do that!
If you would like to join me next year to stay healthy, join me in my Baby Steps for a Healthier Lifestyle Facebook group by clicking here where we share inspirational and motivational posts, healthy recipes, exercise suggestions, as well as compete in challenges together. Right now we are about to start our pushup challenge for January by doing 25 pushups a day (doesn't have to been done all at one time if you can't do that yet) in support of the American Cancer Society. If you want more information about this challenge and joining us, let me know!
God morning . . . In my morning reading I was led to Psalm 78 (history of salvation). I want to state that this is not going to be my typical post about my morning reading, but one I felt called to write based on my reading.
Psalm 78 as told by Asaph described the history of the Jewish nation from the time of slavery in Egypt to David’s reign and it was told over and over to each generation so they would not forget God and make the same mistakes as their ancestors.
I am amazed while reading this historical Psalm at how many times it says they continued to sin and continued to test the Lord! “In spite of all this, they kept sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.” (78:32)
Yet he would forgive them and restrain his anger time and time again. He would not bring down his wrath upon them . . . until finally he had had enough and gave them over to their enemies, rejecting them completely. (78:59) There was great suffering and death! (78:60-64)
It makes me wonder . . . are we close to having pushed God to his testing point? Has he had enough?
It saddens me to see such chaos and destruction in the world. That I believe our country is divided more now than ever before.
It is saddens me to know that each year, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders and of the 600,000-800,000 people trafficked each year, 70 percent are female and 50 percent are children with the majority of these victims being forced into the commercial sex trade (source: NCJRS.gov).
It saddens me that with the click of a button, any person no matter how old can find an endless supply of pornography photos and/or videos.
It saddens me that last year 71,999 people died from a drug overdose and the numbers are even greater for 2020 with our current health situation and people feeling helpless and alone. (Source: NYTimes.com)
What can be done about all this? I don’t know really know.
What I do believe though is if we personally turned our minds and hearts back to our Lord and Savior it would be the best starting point. Christians need to share the Good Word whenever the opportunity comes up. We need to be bold and help bring as many people to Christ as we can!
Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
We hide our light by:
I encourage you to read Psalm 78 and be bold about your light! Let it shine and speak out! God bless and Merry Christmas!